LAUREUS PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF FOOTBALL LEGEND JOHAN CRUYFF WITH POSTHUMOUS SPIRIT OF SPORT AWARD
- ‘Thank you, Johan, for everything that you did for Holland and for me; as a player he was 20 years ahead in the things he did’ – says fellow Dutch star Ruud Gullit
- ‘The word great is often overused, but not when you talk about Johan Cruyff’ – says World Cup winner and Laureus Academy Member Marcel Desailly
- Djokovic, Williams, Spieth, Lauda, Carter and All Blacks among other winners as global TV audience watches Laureus Awards Ceremony in Berlin
- TV News Access and Web Edit links at end of press release
BERLIN, April 18, 2016 – The Laureus World Sports Academy has paid tribute to Dutch football genius Johan Cruyff who died last month, honouring him at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.
The Cruyff family received a special posthumous Laureus Spirit of Sport Award to celebrate his life. It was presented to son Jordi Cruyff by another Dutch football legend, Laureus Ambassador Ruud Gullit.
Gullit said: “I want to thank Johan for being an inspiration and putting Holland on the map. He made me the football player that I became. Thank you, Johan, for everything that you did for Holland and for me. As a player he was 20 years ahead in the things he did. I want to thank him for making me a Total Football player.”
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said: “It was planned that Johan should have received the Award in person, but sadly he died unexpectedly from the lung cancer with which he was suffering. His loss was a tragedy for millions of football fans who enjoyed seeing him play in the flesh, or on television and video. It is impossible to overstate the impact he made on football and sport. His legacy truly will live for ever. He represented everything that was good about sport.”
In an era of cautious tactics, Cruyff’s Holland broke the mould, playing with an open attacking style which became known as Total Football. Later, as coach at FC Barcelona in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, his vision and energy laid the foundations that were to make the club pre-eminent in football.
France’s World Cup winner and Laureus Academy Member Marcel Desailly said: “The word great is often overused, but not when you talk about Johan Cruyff. The Total Football that he played with Ajax, Barcelona and Holland was revolutionary and excited a generation of players and fans. As a coach with Barcelona, he laid the foundations for the greatness of that club today.”
On a glittering evening in Berlin that recognised the outstanding sporting achievements of 2015, Serena Williams celebrated winning a record-equalling fourth Laureus World Sports Award, while Novak Djokovic won his third Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
Golfer Jordan Spieth won the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, while triple Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, now Non-Executive Chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Laureus Academy named the recipient of the Laureus Sport for Good Award: Moving the Goalposts, a community sports project which uses football to empower girls in Kenya.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of more than 50 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen.
The Laureus World Sports Awards supports Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does to transform the lives of individuals and communities around the world by using the power of sport as a tool to combat challenging social issues. Since its inception, Laureus Sport for Good has raised over €100 million and supported over 150 projects worldwide which use sport to tackle violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Laureus Sport for Good has helped to improve the lives of millions of young people in over 35 countries and is proving that sport can change the world.
The Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony, hosted by Hollywood actor Bill Murray at the Messe Berlin Palais am Funkturm, is broadcast to 160 countries.
Laureus World Sports Awards were announced in seven categories.
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
Laureus World Team of the Year: All Blacks
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Jordan Spieth
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Dan Carter
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Daniel Dias
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jan Frodeno
There were three additional Award winners: the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award was presented posthumously to legendary Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff, who died last month; the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award was given to three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda and the Laureus Sport for Good Award went to Kenya’s Moving the Goalposts football project.
For full biographies of Winners and Nominees go to www.laureus.com
Three new members were welcomed to the Laureus World Sports Academy during the Awards Ceremony – German skier Maria Höfl-Riesch, Spanish football legend Raul and Irish rugby star Brian O’Driscoll.
Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, Ambassadors and other guests present in Berlin, included: Boris Becker, Oliver Bierhoff, Ole Bischof, Stefan Blöcher, Fredi Bobic, Marie Bochet, Ian Botham, Martin Braxenthaler, Bob Burnquist, Flavio Canto, Cafu, Nadia Comaneci, David Coulthard, Liu Cuiqing, Alessandro Del Piero, Deng Yaping, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Genzebe Dibaba, Mick Doohan, Morné du Plessis, Pieter du Preez, Omara Durand, Mick Fanning, Luis Figo, Anna Fenninger, Sean Fitzpatrick, Cathy Freeman, Jan Frodeno, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Bryan Habana, Anthony Joshua Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Hakkinen, Regina Halmich, Lewis Hamilton, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Chris Hoy, Nadine Kessler, Kip Keino, Chloe Kim, Christa Kinshofer, Franz Klammer, Philip Köster, Nia Künzer, Niki Lauda, Jens Lehmann, Tegla Loroupe, Joachim Löw, Garrett McNamara, Edwin Moses, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Alexey Nemov, Brian O’Driscoll, Victoria Pendleton, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raul, Steve Redgrave, Jamie Redknapp, Markus Rehm, Nico Rosberg, David Rudisha, Anna Schaffelhuber, Axel Schulz, Daley Thompson, Pascal Wehrlein, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Toto Wolff, Kathi Wörndl.